Jack Sheppard

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Jack Sheppard can refer to the name of a historical character featured in a number of works, as well the title of such works, notably plays, based on his life.

Jack Sheppard the character

The story of the infamous British thief and jailbreaker Jack Sheppard[1] is well known and has led to numerous literary and theatrical works, including a novel called Jack Sheppard[2] by William Harrison Ainsworth (1805-1882) [3], first published serially published in Bentley's Miscellany from January 1839 to 1840, with a well-known series of illustrations by George Cruikshank (1792-1878)[4].

Among the many plays based on the character are Harlequin Sheppard, a pantomime by John Thurmond (1724), The Prison-Breaker, The Quaker's Opera (performed at Bartholomew Fair in 1725 and 1728), famously of John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1728), Jack Sheppard, The Housebreaker, or London in 1724 by W. T. Moncrieff (1825), Jack Sheppard by J.B. Buckstone (1839), Little Jack Sheppard by Henry Pottinger Stephens and William Yardley (1886) and Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera (1928).

A number of them have been performed in South Africa. To see details (and lists of and South African performances) of plays with other titles under the appropriate entries.

Jack Sheppard a drama in four acts by J.B. Buckstone

The original text

Jack Sheppard is also the name of drama in four acts by John Baldwin Buckstone (1802-1879)[5], based on Ainsworth's novel of the same name[6].

The play opened at the Adelphi Theatre, London, in October of 1839 and became an extraordinary success for the playwright. It later played at the Bowery Theatre New York in November of 1853. The text was first published in 1840 and again as No LIII of French's Minor Drama (edited by F.C. Wemyss) by Samuel French in 1853.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1876: Performed in the Athenaeum Hall, Cape Town, by Disney Roebuck and company on 29 July, with a company that included J.B. Howe and Miss G. Robertson, besides Roebuck himself.

1876: Performed again in the Athenaeum Hall, Cape Town, by Disney Roebuck and company on 1 August, this time with an afterpiece, The Bushranger (Anon.)




Facsimile version of the 1853 edition by Samuel French, Google E-book[7]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 341, 346, 348-9, 351

Go to ESAT Bibliography

Return to

Return to PLAYS I: Original SA plays

Return to PLAYS II: Foreign plays

Return to PLAYS III: Collections

Return to PLAYS IV: Pageants and public performances

Return to South African Festivals and Competitions

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page